Building a Healthy Youth Ministry Team

What is the best team you have ever been on? Maybe it was your basketball team, debate team, soccer team, etc. For me, it was my junior high 4x4 relay team. I absolutely loved that team. We had a common goal, and that was to win. We each had our strengths, and we had a ton of fun while training. Although we didn't always win, we cheered for each other regardless of the outcome. I want my junior high team to feel like my 4x4 relay team. 

What do you need in order to have a healthy youth ministry team?

  1. Common and Clear Vision

My 4x4 team had a clear vision, and that was to win. We were all on board!  There was a clear and common goal we were all striving to obtain. Starbucks' vision is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” Google, Nike, Amazon, Disney and so many more have clear vision statements that help them reach their goals. We need vision statements. Vision statements help to keep us focused and motivated.  Vision statements give us rails by which we operate; they impact and guide every decision and conversation. At Parkview Students, our vision is to REACH students who are seeking something real, RAISE them to relentlessly pursue Jesus, and RELEASE them to infuse this world with the hope of Christ. We start each year with this vision statement as the foundation of our teaching and keep it in our language. This statement has helped our team to focus in on our goals and easily explain what we do. We love our vision statement! What’s yours?

  1. Gifts of all Kinds

When I first started in youth ministry, I thought I needed to recruit volunteers who were young, fun, and outgoing and then I would be set for life. Boy, was I wrong! Within my 4x4 team, we each had different strengths. Katie knew how to kick off the race for us and put our team in good placing. Callan was motivated to keep us where we were. I gave it all I had making the transition smooth and holding our spot. Nicole was our last leg for a reason. Nicole was faster than any girl on our team and could bring us up to the top 3 even if we weren’t looking so good. As you build your team, don’t let just anyone serve, but also don’t shut people out right away. It may take a little bit to find their spot on the team, but let me tell you it will be worth it! Not every student in your youth ministry is going to open up to the outgoing college student serving. Heck, I wasn’t that kid. I sought out Ms. Chris who was in her 40's, showed up faithfully, and was wiser than anyone I had ever met. People will surprise you once they capture the vision!

  1. FUN

Laughter is good for the soul. Spice up your time together with fun games. If we want our volunteers to come back, we have got to make serving fun. Make time to get out of the youth ministry area and grow your relationships with the people who are on your team. One of the best team bonding activities that we have done was going ax throwing! We all were trying something new together while laughing, having fun, and almost killing each other. A little danger adds an extra element of fun. Get to know your team and laugh together. Before you know it, you’ll feel like a family.

If you don’t have a team yet, start building! Youth ministry is a lot more fun when you are working with people who have the heart to see teenagers meet Jesus.

Practical Takeaways:

  1. Clear some space on your calendar, get with your team, and sit down to put ideas, goals, and vision to paper.  Once there’s agreement on what’s written, make it your unapologetic mantra and push forward for the glory of Jesus!
  2. There’s always the temptation to judge a book by its cover and only recruit “ideal” candidates to serve within ministry.  Keep an open mind and ask God to direct you to the people who have the heart to serve and lead the next generation.
  3. Laughter is GREAT for the soul!  In all that you do look for intentional ways to celebrate with your team. Ministry is stressful work so be intentional to enjoy the victories Jesus brings your way.